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Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It
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Author:  Moon [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

First... interrobang... is that Dame Maggie Smith in youthful form in your avatar?

Second... to "dethaw" is just the regular way of thawing out something, at least around here. I never would have thought about it being different for someone. But it makes sense.

Author:  ndpittman [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

You're right Interrobang. I think regarding the correcting part comes as a lot of us from my area have something to prove. Or maybe it's just me. Pretty loaded issue for me in that I'm proud of my home state, but I don't want be thought of as dumb. Another anecdote, I had a very difficult English teacher in college. One morning I said something that made him question where I'd been that weekend because my accent/grammar had gone to hell (I can't remember what I said.) I realized it was from talking to me dad that morning I was still echoing my dad's accent. Regarding talking to my dad, the teacher said, "Well, don't do that."

Author:  chop_socky [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

Moon wrote:
First... interrobang... is that Dame Maggie Smith in youthful form in your avatar?

Second... to "dethaw" is just the regular way of thawing out something, at least around here. I never would have thought about it being different for someone. But it makes sense.


Yeah, dictionary.com has this entry for "dethaw:

verb
become or cause to become soft or liquid; "The sun melted the ice"; "the ice thawed"; "the ice cream melted"; "The heat melted the wax"; "The giant iceberg dissolved over the years during the global warming phase"; "dethaw the meat" [syn: dissolve]

Author:  ndpittman [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

Re: dethaw--weird! I mean, I understand, but it looks so much like it should mean the opposite. Maybe it's like flammable and inflammable. How does anyone expect us to succeed?!

Author:  Moon [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

Famous and infamous?

Author:  solipsistnation [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

Here are two potential situations and my personal approach to them. The first, general informal discussion.

In general chatting, while I used to be a hardcore grammar nazi, I have basically gotten bored of that except when I think it'll be funny or somebody is being really annoying and I want to first refute their argument and THEN drop the "And your grammar is bad" bomb on them. But mostly, grammar flame wars are SO Usenet 1994. And on the phone or whatever? On message boards? As long as it's pretty much understandable, who cares?

The second: In a professional situation, I will definitely think the worse of and be annoyed with somebody who can't effectively communicate using professional vernacular and terminology.

I work in a technical field and precise terminology is vital to effective communication. I have spent WAY too much time exchanging email with people who, although supposedly native English speakers, clearly have no idea how to communicate using the written word. Here are some examples of the sorts of things I've run into:

Quote:
"nothing stcuk when typing then threw me out and if I go back in now. Nothing everything has disappeard from the drive."

Quote:
"I am getting some strange things when I use the internet. would you be check it for me when you have time."


Those are the entirety of the helpdesk tickets submitted. What do those even mean? These messages are from supposedly literate native English speakers. And here is a whole collection of gibberish tickets:

http://www.chroniclesofgeorge.com/tickets1.htm

Sure, you can usually sort of tell what was meant, but you can't be SURE. There's certainly not enough to start actual troubleshooting based on the original ticket contents. If I have to bounce your ticket back 2 or 3 times to figure out what you actually want, you're wasting everyone's time.

This extends to resumes and cover letters. I have rejected fairly impressive resumes based on semi-legible cover letters.

The TL;DR version: You can be a genius in your own head, but if you can't communicate clearly nobody will know or care.

Author:  Moon [ Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

I had a very similar conversation with my mom on Facebook tonight - "Mom, what the fizzle does that even mean? Are there even supposed to be commas in that sentence?"

And it's brutal because if she writes things by hand she's pretty much as perfect a writer as you could hope for. But on the computer she reads like a 13 year old who had no idea about punctuation.

Author:  acr [ Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

Moon wrote:
Famous and infamous?

not the same!

Author:  joshua [ Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

literary privilege and its relationship to feminism. it's pretty obvious, don't you think?

Author:  aelle [ Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

acr wrote:
Moon wrote:
Famous and infamous?

not the same!


Flammable and inflammable?

Author:  lepelaar [ Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

Well, now I feel torn about having thoroughly enjoyed this twitter feed: https://twitter.com/YourInAmerica.

ETA: No I don't. I still thoroughly enjoy it.

Author:  ndpittman [ Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

aelle wrote:
acr wrote:
Moon wrote:
Famous and infamous?

not the same!


Flammable and inflammable?


They are the same!

Author:  bekki [ Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

I refuse to acknowledge the absurdity of the word "inflammable."

Author:  FootFace [ Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

I think it's funny that worthless and priceless are opposites.

Not that this is relevant.

Author:  starrynight87 [ Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

Just out of curiosity, what country are the stats in the article for?

Author:  tinglepants! [ Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

Moon wrote:
hoveringdog™ wrote:

Suffice to say, if you actually followed all the rules of prescriptive grammar over the ages, you'd probably have a tough time communicating effectively with everyone that wasn't a Victorian schoolmarm.


My husband's family regularly calls me the "grammar nazi" which is crazy because I am not even close and also my husband's family was forced to be in the nazi army, so being flippant about the wording surprises me. But this ^

I am a moderate "grammar nazi" for the big ones: they're/their/there, your/you're, etc. When I was younger I told myself I couldn't be with a person who couldn't spell or punctuate. Enter my husband who's grasp of the english language (when written) is sketchy at best - he is severely dyslexic and was in the assisted english classes throughout school.

So I am always torn, because I hate when people can't use the proper version of popular words, and at the same time my husband can't spell WATER. (Whather anyone?)


To be fair, much of the their/they're/there misspellings are due to typing errors. Most people still know the difference but we type faster than we think, usually.

And if you proof the above, you have a misspelling that would probably be pretty obvious if you were reading it rather than typing it. It isn't a mark of your intelligence!:)

Edit: Isa, please let me have one smiley!

Author:  torque [ Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

starrynight87 wrote:
Just out of curiosity, what country are the stats in the article for?

I've been trying to keep out of this because, while I appreciate the author's intentions, I don't agree with where she takes it.
However, since I know where she's coming from:

The stats are from the IALS, a survey done every 10 years (more or less). I can't get the official government site with the results to open- (NCES.gov) but the OECD financed the study and their site has the final report. Most relevant stuff is in section 2.
http://www.oecd.org/education/education ... 437980.pdf
There is some flap about how accurate it is, as there is some variation between self-identification of level/function and levels as identified by testing. cf https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=ca ... SOv5NB6vfA

The testing, and the resulting data, is mostly used around the world in justifying the need for government financing and private grants to run programs that reach adults who need alternative learning structures (tutoring, adult ed, etc). It is used as the bedrock for pretty much every adult ed/literacy program in the US.

The statistics it presents are shocking, even if they aren't 100% accurate, and they motivate people to open their wallets and give up their precious time to teach people in the community through volunteer programs like the one the author talks about.
I've trained volunteers, just as she has, and part of these trainings is always an activity sharing the data and giving the future volunteers a sense of what it's like to function without the language tools which are needed in society. It does wake people up and make them realize how hard it is for a functionally illiterate person to move throughout our society. The author's article seems to have been taken directly from one of these seminars.
But while I agree that many of these people who have need of reading/tutoring programs have been greatly disserved by the system, I don't think that putting it into terms of oppression helps achieve the goal, which is to give learners the tools they need to reach their own objectives. I think that having a respectful attitude for these learners is 100% necessary, and it's great to teach your tutors where learners are coming from and have to deal with, but being overbearing about correction="the man" is not helping. Making people feel guilty about their own privilege doesn't seem to accomplish much.
Many of my best tutors in the literacy program were grammar mavens, the type who would write letters to the newspaper complaining when they saw errors. But they were not oppressors in the classroom, they shared their own passion for the language, and their student partners acquired it and excelled.
I feel like we served learners who were able to get a new tool (more fluent language use) and apply it to their lives. I'm not sure what acknowledging grammar as oppression does to benefit the same population. Unless the basic message is to respect people, no matter what they look or sound like, which is sound advice all around.

Author:  Tofulish [ Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

Torque thank you for that context. You've said it beautifully.

Author:  jordanpattern [ Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

To clarify:

My intent in posting that article was not to imply that correct spelling and grammar or caring about same is bad. What I think are the most important takeaways from that article are 1) grammatical rules and spellings are not always as black and white as we think, and 2) the ways in which we talk about this stuff matters. Personally, I have no problem with folks who correct other people's spelling or grammar in a friendly, non-judgmental way. However, I think that mocking people with poor spelling or grammar as being de facto stupid is shitty. It reeks of classism and un-checked privilege, and it happens all the time.

To respond to what torque said, I agree that calling on us all to see those with poor language/writing skills as oppressed is not terribly helpful. I do think it's helpful to call on those of us who have been lucky enough to have had the tools and education (and lack of developmental or other impediments) to develop those skills to examine why we think we have some kind of right to look down on those who have not.

Author:  mumbles [ Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

I assume people make the your/you're error because, as it happens, there's no distinction between these words in most dialects of spoken English.

Endlessly railing against it just seems like a huge waste of energy to me. Blame our stupid orthography, and move on.

Author:  linanil [ Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

I rather rail against text speak in non text messages. That is my crusade.

Author:  vijita [ Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

I like keeping myself on a short leash when it comes to grammar and spelling, and I do find immense satisfaction in editing, but shiitake, I make mistakes all the time. I don't expect to be judged because I don't judge others. Some people are interested in the rules of language and some are not, just like with any discipline. Those who haven't had the time to spend time learning and/or reading have gained other valuable skills elsewhere.

Author:  LazySmurf [ Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

acr wrote:
Moon wrote:
Famous and infamous?

not the same!

That's how the Three Amigos got into so much trouble!

Author:  seitanicverses [ Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

FootFace wrote:
priceless.

The word priceless baffled me as a kid. I assumed it meant something was totally cheap. Now pass me that Ming vase Imma bust it like a plate at a Greek wedding.

Author:  torque [ Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Literary Privilege: Better than I Could Say It

jordanpattern wrote:
I do think it's helpful to call on those of us who have been lucky enough to have had the tools and education (and lack of developmental or other impediments) to develop those skills to examine why we think we have some kind of right to look down on those who have not.

i think that's definitely fair and a good exercise for anybody.

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